– for blowing whistle on delinquent officials not declaring assets
The Transparency Institute of Guyana Incorporated (TIGI) has thrown its support behind the Integrity Commission, which only recently published the names of various Ministers and parliamentarians who have failed to submit income declarations.
In a statement issued over the weekend, President of the anti-corruption organisation, Dr Troy Thomas lauded the Commission for its work. While the body congratulated these officials who did comply with the requirements, it noted that publishing the names of the delinquents was a step in the right direction.
“TIGI hereby acknowledges the work of the Integrity Commission in publishing the names of the persons in public life who failed to submit their declaration as required by the Integrity Commission Act.
“We are encouraged by the public statements of some of those who have been cited for non-compliance and look forward to their satisfaction of that commitment. We call on all Guyanese to support this effort of the Integrity Commission by seeing it as a bright start to holding ourselves – all of us – to account,” the organisation added.
The organisation also noted its longstanding call for the activation of the Integrity Commission. In that context, TIGI offered congratulations to the Commission for its work so far.
In a surprise move, the Integrity Commission had spilled the beans last month on exactly which public officials have been complying with the law and declaring their income and those who have not.
The Commission revealed in a gazetted list that some 15 Ministers, 24 Members of Parliament (MPs) and a host of regional officials – including embattled Town
Clerk Royston King, who had for some time faced the heat at a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) – failed to declare their income.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo was among the few who were in compliance with the law and had submitted declarations of his assets as of November 1, 2018. But surprisingly, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland was red-flagged for not declaring his income to the Commission.
It turns out that the Cabinet is full of persons in breach of the law. Making the list of delinquent officials from the People’s National Congress (PNC), part of the coalition Government, were Foreign Affairs Minister and Vice President Carl Greenidge and Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan.
In addition, Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton; Citizenship Minister Winston Felix; Education Minister Nicolette Henry and several Junior Ministers, including Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes, were in breach.
With the exceptions of Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and Junior Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe, all other Alliance for Change (AFC) Ministers had submitted their income declaration statements. Public Service Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine was also red- flagged by the Commission.
Besides these Ministers, 10 other Government MPs and 16 Opposition parliamentarians were in default. They include MPs Audwin Rutherford, Richard Allen, Dr Frank Anthony, Collin Croal, Africo Selman, Odinga Lumumba and Dr Jennifer Westford.
Seven Presidential Advisors are in breach of the law. They are Granger’s Senior Advisor and former PNC Leader Robert Corbin; Protocol Advisor Eshwar Persaud; Ministerial Advisor on Education Cheryl Sampson; Natural Resources Advisor Ndibi Schweirs; Advisor on Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Mervyn Williams; Advisor on Constitutional Reform, Lance Carberry and Technical Advisor on Oil and Gas, Max Mohamed.
There were a number of Permanent Secretaries on the list of defaulters. They include Emile McGarrell of the Communities Ministry; Vibert Welch of the Education Ministry; Reginald Brotherson of the Ministry of the Presidency’s Public Service Department and his counterpart at Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sports, Steve Ninvalle.
At the Public Security Ministry, PS Daneilla McCalmon also failed to submit declarations, while both PS and Deputy PS at the Social Protection Ministry, Lorene Baird and Mohan Ramrattan, are in default.
At the Public Health and Infrastructure Ministries, PSs Colette Adams and Kenneth Jordan were flagged by the Commission, while Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry PS Alfred King and his deputy, Sherie Samantha Fedee were also cited.
The Integrity Commission Act requires every public official, except the Commissioners themselves, to declare their assets, income, gifts, and liabilities, along with those of their spouses and children if applicable, by June 30 every year.
Section 22 (a) of the Act states that any official who without reasonable cause fails to file their declarations or any official who files an incomplete or false declaration “shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $25,000 and to imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than one year.”